Oct. 11, 2022 – For all her stage success, Ms. Lansbury would capture the biggest audience of her career in 1984, when she was cast as the mystery writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher on the CBS series “Murder, She Wrote.”

It was widely believed that the series, whose protagonist was a bicycle-riding widow living in a small town in Maine, had little chance against sexier competition like the action crime drama “Knight Rider” on NBC. The conventional wisdom was that advertisers would not go after the older audience the show was likely to attract.

“We were getting condolences even before we went on the air,” Richard Levinson, one of the show’s creators, recalled. “At best, we hoped that it would be a marginal success.” She received 12 successive Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher, but she never won. 


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